10/03/2011 2:34PM

Santa Anita: Rosario on top of his game

Shigeki Kikkawa
Zazu, with Joel Rosario up, wins the Lady's Secret, one of three Grade 1 victories for the rider on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Saturday at Santa Anita was a career-best day for jockey Joel Rosario, his first with three Grade 1 wins.

Rosario’s winners were Creative Cause in the Norfolk Stakes, Dubawi Heights in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes, and Zazu in the Lady’s Secret Stakes.

“It’s hard to do,” he said on Sunday morning. “You have to be perfect. Everything came together. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

All three are likely are bound for Breeders’ Cup races, giving Rosario strong chances in the Juvenile, Filly and Mare Turf, and Ladies’ Classic.

Last December, Rosario won two Grade 1 races and a Grade 3 race on the opening day of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting.

Even with Saturday’s three-win day, Rosario is locked in his typical battle with Rafael Bejarano for the riding title. Bejarano had four winners on Sunday, including BC Juvenile Fillies contender Weemissfrankie in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes. Through Sunday, Bejarano and Rosario each had five wins through the first three days of the meeting, leading third-placed Patrick Valenzuela by two.

Last Saturday, Bejarano, 29, traveled away from the circuit, winning the Cotillion Stakes on Plum Pretty at Parx Racing. This weekend, Rosario, 26, rides at Keeneland on Saturday, where his mounts include Switch, a candidate for the Filly and Mare Sprint, in the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.

◗ The Factor, the winner of the Grade 1 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar in August, worked a half-mile in 47 seconds at Santa Anita on Monday, preparing for a start in the $250,000 Ancient Title Stakes on Saturday.